Charles Holjencin

Charles Holjencin

Entered Dual-Degree program: June 2018

Biography: Charles received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biology from the University of Pittsburgh and his Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Hawaii.  Charles chose Dr. Andrew Jakymiw as his PhD mentor and is working on optimizing delivery of therapeutics via cell penetrating peptides to treat oral cancer. Toward this end the first part of his project is to optimize a unique peptide (599), developed by the lab, to both bind to and effectively chaperone/transport siRNA or miRNA into cells for treatment of oral cancer by targeting the oncoprotein CIP2A. He has generated eight 599 peptide variants and tested them for binding, protection, and release of siRNA via gel shift assays, delivery into cells via Fluorescence microscopy, and effectiveness at altering CIP2A expression by qPCR and western blot analysis. This comparative assessment has led to further development of 599 and its variants and a patent application by Charles and his mentor.

Charles enjoys most things outdoors especially hiking, gardening, and woodworking.  He also enjoys cooking and spending time with his family and four dogs (2 labradors and 2 pugs).  Though he enjoys living in beautiful coastal South Carolina, and previously Hawaii, he misses the winters of Pennsylvania.  

Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Andrew Jakymiw

Peer-reviewed Publications

Holjencin C., Feinberg C, Hedrick T, Halsey G, Williams RD, Patel P, Biles, E, Cummings JC, Wagner C, Vyavahare N, and Jakymiw A Advancing peptide siRNA carrier designs through stereochemistry and D-Amino acids modifications to enhance gene silencing Molecular Therapy-Nucleic Acids (in review).